Super-Sensing Glove Allows Divers to Feel Objects Deep Underwater

Courtesy+of+mnn.com

Courtesy of mnn.com

The idea behind IrukaTact, a breakthrough haptic sonar glove developed by Aisen Carolina Chacin and Takeshi Ozu of Tsukuba University in Japan, is that you could echolocate using your fingertips, in a way that allowed you to have a tactile sense of objects around you without having to physically touch them, according to MNN.com.

 

“Our overall goal was to expand haptics,” says Chacin, speaking to Popular Science. “How can you feel different textures or sense depth without actually touching the object? Vibration alone doesn’t cut it for me, or most people, for that matter.”

 

“The glove, inspired by the dolphin (iruka means “dolphin” in Japanese), is specifically designed for use underwater where it makes it possible for swimmers to feel for objects deep below them. The glove essentially bestows its wearers with a sixth sense — an Aquaman-like underwater sense — which could be useful for salvage or rescue divers that have to feel their way through murky waters,” MNN explained.

 

With motors placed on top of the index, middle and ring fingers, water is pumped from fingers to produce pressure feedback. According to news.discovery.com, IrukaTact uses a MaxBotix ultrasonic range-finding sonar sensor that points down from the wrist, along with three small motors and an Arduino Pro Mini microcomputer.

 

“When the glove is in close proximity to an object underwater, greater pressure is exerted onto a finger. The sensor can receive and send sonic signals from up to two feet underwater, but the researchers hope to expand that range in the future,” news.discover.com stated.